Why did Russia Sign a Peace Agreement With Germany During World War I?

The First World War, which lasted from 1914 to 1918, was a global conflict that involved the major powers of the time, including Russia and Germany. One of the significant events that occurred during the war was the peace agreement signed between Russia and Germany. This article will explore the reasons why Russia signed this agreement and what impact it had on the course of the war.

The Background of Russia`s Involvement in World War I

Russia`s entry into the war was prompted by a desire to protect its interests in the Balkans and its ally Serbia. In August 1914, Russia declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Russian army initially enjoyed some success, but suffered a series of crushing defeats against the German army, particularly in the battle of Tannenberg in August 1914 and the battle of Gorlice-Tarnow in May 1915.

Russia`s defeat in these battles exposed the weakness of its military and the incompetence of its leadership. The Russian army was poorly equipped, and soldiers often lacked proper training and supplies. The Russian economy was also ill-prepared for the demands of modern warfare, leading to inflation and food shortages.

The Impact of the Russian Revolution

Russian domestic and political instability further weakened the country`s ability to continue fighting in the war. In February 1917, the Russian Revolution broke out, leading to the overthrow of the Tsarist regime and the establishment of a provisional government. The new government, led by Alexander Kerensky, continued Russia`s involvement in the war, hoping to secure Allied support for the new regime.

However, the provisional government was unable to address the main concerns of the Russian people, such as land reform and an end to the war. This led to increased unrest, and in October 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, seized power in a coup. The Bolsheviks promised an end to the war, land reform, and other social and economic changes.

The signing of the Peace Agreement

In March 1918, the new Soviet government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire. This treaty ended Russia`s involvement in the war and ceded significant portions of its territory, including Finland, the Baltic states, and parts of Ukraine and Belarus, to Germany.

The signing of the treaty was a significant blow to the Allied cause. It allowed Germany to shift its forces from the Eastern Front to the Western Front, where the war was still raging. The signing of the treaty also led to direct military intervention by the Allied powers in Russia, in an attempt to prevent the spread of communism and to protect their own interests.


Russia`s decision to sign a peace agreement with Germany was a consequence of its military and economic weaknesses, as well as its domestic political instability. The signing of the treaty allowed Germany to focus its forces on the Western Front, which led to a renewed offensive and increased tensions between the Allied powers. The impact of the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Soviet state had far-reaching consequences, both for the course of the war and for the future of international relations.